Read D.F.'s bio and previous columns
June 30, 2008
Iím Calling You On
Vacation, And I Donít Care
Iíve decided that, starting right now, Iím interrupting your vacation.
And itís your own fault.
This is the result of my calling you and getting a most unwanted bit of
information: ďYouíve reached Bob Matheson. I am out of the office until
Monday, July 14. Please leave a message at the tone and I will get back
to you upon my return. If this is an urgent matter, you can reach me on
my cell phone at 616.BLAHBLA.Ē
Now, the old D.F. would have said, ďOh dear, I donít want to bother Bob
on his vacation!Ē I might have tried to conjure up, in my mind, some
justification I might have used to explain why it really was a very,
very, very urgent situation, and I needed to make his cell phone ring at
the very moment he was strapping water skis on little Bob Jr. for the
Had I actually made the call, I would have apologized six or seven times
before bringing up whatever business had necessitated the call, and six
or seven times after. That was the old D.F.
What does the new D.F. say?
Screw it. Make the call.
Much of this is the product of my own evolution, but there are good
practical reasons as well. In the past two years, Iíve made a transition
from mainly using an office phone for business to using my cell phone
almost exclusively. The only reason I even still have the desk phone is
that I have a lease on the system and no one is quite sure where we
would go to get rid of it. The cell phone has graduated from my
when-Iím-on-the-road-or-after-hours phone to My Phone.
And once your cell phone becomes Your Phone, you get used to the
idea that youíre never really out of the office. If this offends your
sense of work/home separation, donít give out your cell phone number.
But chances are, youíll realize after about three weeks that your
personal sovereignty is not under attack because you got a work call
while you were doing the dishes.
I donít fret for Bobís personal time because Iím not too terribly
concerned about my own.
a practical matter, Iím calling Bob on vacation because I know darn well
that there is no one else in his office who has the answer to my
question, and I have no intention of waiting until July 14 to get it. I
suppose I could. It wouldnít be the end of the world if this item stayed
on my to-do list until then.
But I want to get it done, and Iíve simply decided Bob being on vacation
isnít a good enough reason to have to wait two weeks. So Iím calling.
Bob did make a choice, you realize. Two choices, actually. First, he
made a choice to give out his cell phone number on his voice mail
greeting Ė not to mention leaving it up to me to define what an ďurgent
situationĒ is. I define urgent by how patient Iím feeling that day.
Second, he made a choice not to include the following in his voice mail
greeting: ďIf this is D.F. Krause, my colleague Erin has the answer to
Would I still call Bob on vacation then? Of course not. Iím not a
sadist. I just want my question answered. But Bob wouldnít think to
leave the information with Erin because Bob doesnít think like that.
Heís very good at his job, but he figures that when itís time to go on
vacation, all he needs to do is go.
I made the call. It took about three minutes. Bob had exactly the
information I needed. I did hear Mrs. Matheson grousing in the
background, ďWeíre on vacation!Ē
Iíll leave it to Bob to explain how that ridiculous D.F. Krause just
canít let a man take his family on vacation in peace. I just hope they
donít stand there arguing about it too long. Bob Jr. is waiting to ski!
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